Daniel 039 – The Prophetic Jigsaw Puzzle (Part 2)

Daniel 039 – The Prophetic Jigsaw Puzzle (Part 2)
Daniel 9:24-27 • Dr. Andy Woods • October 22, 2017 • Daniel


Andy Woods

The Prophetic Jigsaw Puzzle, Part 2

10-22-17      Daniel 9:24-27          Lesson 39

Good morning everybody.  If we could take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 9 and verse 27.  You say oh no, not again.  I believe this will be our sixth lesson in the seventy weeks prophecy and I’m hoping it will stay at that and won’t grow to seven lessons.  And I appreciate everybody diligently tracking with me on this subject of the seventy weeks prophecy and I really haven’t even told you yet what I consider to be the most important part of the whole thing, which we’ll be talking about today.

Prophecy is like a jigsaw puzzle.  What you have all over the Bible are just scattered prophecies and the Book of Daniel is sort of like the picture on the box top of a jigsaw puzzle that tells you what the puzzle is supposed to look like after you assemble all the pieces.  It shows you where all the pieces fit and Daniel 9:27 really needs to be approached in that way.   I want to thank Gabe Morris for filling in last week, covering the Book of Jude which I’m very excited about; I trust  you are enjoying his ministry as well.  We have been looking at Daniel 9; we have been spending a lot of time in Daniel 9:24-27 and this prophecy is so detailed I decided to break it down into ten points.  We’ve covered points 1-9 and we’re going to cover, by God’s grace, all of point 10 today.

But just by way of review you’ll notice, number 1, that the prophecy concerns who?  The nation of Israel.  Now that point is going to come out today very strongly in point 10 so just keep a mental note of point 1.  The prophecy specifically says that the seventy weeks were decreed for Daniel’s  people in Daniel’s city.  It’s very clear here that the prophecy concerns Israel.

Number 2, the prophecy concerns a time period of 490 years, seventy sevens.  Daniel was given a stopwatch back in the sixth century.  It’s got 490 years on it; there’s a start button, a pause button and a stop button, as you would have in any ordinary stopwatch.

Number 3, each year of the prophecy, as we have talked about, consists of 360 days.

Number 4, at the conclusion of the 490 years (and this too will come out today in our study) will be the establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth, which is described in six clauses sin verse 24.  All of that simply means the political and the spiritual restoration of Israel and kingdom conditions will break forth on planet earth.

Number 5, we have studied how the divine finger was placed on the start button March 5, 444 B.C.  It’s related to a decree given to Nehemiah to go back to Jerusalem from Susa and rebuild the walls around the city of Jerusalem.  And the moment that decree was entered into by Artaxerxes, the Persian king, is the moment God’s finger was placed on the start button, roughly a century after Daniel had died, and the clock of 400 years began to tick.

Number 6, we have also studied that exactly 483  years, to the day, would elapse between that decree of Nehemiah 2 and Palm Sunday.  The prophecy says, until the Messiah, the Prince, comes there will be 7 weeks and 62 weeks for a grand total of 69 weeks or 483 years or 173,880 days (wow, that’s pretty specific, isn’t it) will elapse between Nehemiah 2 and Palm Sunday.

We’ve studied how that prophecy was fulfilled exactly on time.  We’ve also studied number 7, how the moment the nation of Israel, on Palm Sunday, rejected her own Messiah nationally is the moment the divine finger moved from the start button, which it had been on for 483 years, to the pause button.  And consequently there is a gap of time at the end of the 483rd year and the beginning of the 484th  year.  This clock, which ran consistently and exactly for 483 years was paused by God on Palm Sunday.  And in the interim period of time is this time period that is sometimes called the gap; I’m not talking about the store, I’m talking about a pause in the activities of God related to the nation of Israel.  And we have carefully identified this gap; we, as the church of God, are living in this gap.  We’ve given several reasons why this gap exists. We are part of, not Israel today, we are part of a new man called the church and we have specific tasks to do while Israel is on hold, if you will.

Then we studied number 8, there is seven years left on the prophecy.  How do we know that?  Because 483, the time that’s already transpired, taken away from 490 leaves how many years? 7 years — 7 years yet future.   Last time we were together we studied how those seven years, number 9, are described in the verse we just read, Daniel 9:27.  [Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”]

Daniel 9:27 represents the completion of the clock after the church age has ended.  And we’ve looked at this prophecy here in Daniel 9, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”  We have studied at how when you look at that prophecy in verse 27 (yet to come) you know exactly how long this period will be, yet future, seven years.  This is where the idea of the future seven year tribulation period.  You know exactly what’s going to start the clock.  After the rapture of the church the antichrist will enter a covenant with unbelieving Israel guaranteeing her security.  And you know what’s going to happen exactly in the middle of this time period.  The antichrist will betray the Jewish people by desecrating their temple.  And then you know exactly how this period is going to end, with the personal return of Jesus Christ to the earth to establish His kingdom.

And if all of this is true we have looked at how the world stage today is being set up, much like a chess board, in preparation for this end time drama.  There are things that are happening in our world which are virtually undeniable.  It’s a very strong indicator, although we can’t set a date it’s a very strong indicator that the church age is rapidly reaching her conclusion; the rapture of the church is imminent and God is setting the stage, if you will, for the final seven years of this clock, if you will, after the church has been removed.  So all of that is just review.

And now finally this morning we come to fact number 10 in our sermon entitled The Prophetic Jigsaw Puzzle, Part 2.  And this may be the most important piece of information that I could give you because if you  understand what we’re talking about here you are rescued from so much confusion out there.  And the final fact is this:  Daniel 9:27 is describing the exact same period of time revealed in the Book of Revelation, particularly chapters 6-19.

You see, most people when they begin studying prophecy start with the Book of Revelation but they ought to start with this prophecy here, the Book of Daniel because the Book of Daniel gives you the framework in outline form that the Book of Revelation is built on.  There is Daniel 9:27 as we have read it and why do I think that Daniel 9:27 is talking about the exact same period of time that is revealed in Revelation 6-19?  Well notice all of the similarities. Let me go through these quickly.

The Book of Revelation, chapter 11, verses 1-2, talk about a rebuilt temple that the antichrist will desecrate.  [Revelation 11:1-2, “Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. [2] Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.”]  Oh my goodness, didn’t we read about that in Daniel 9:27?  In the middle of the week he” that’s the antichrist, “will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering, and on the wing of abominations,” this takes place in the rebuilt temple, the third Jewish temple and the Book of Revelation in chapter 11:1-2 is talking about that same temple. Interesting!

Beyond that, the Book of Revelation divides the final period of human history before the return of Christ into two distinct three and a half year periods.  For example, Revelation 11:2 and Revelation 13:5 mention a time period of forty-two months.  How long is 42 months?  Well, that’s three and a half years.  [Revelation 13:5, “There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”]

Revelation 11:3 and Revelation 12:6 mention a time period of 1,260 days.  How long is that?  That’s 42 months which equals what?  Three and a half years.  Revelation 12:14 mentions a time period called a time, times and a half a time.  [Revelation 11:3, “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” Revelation 12:6, “Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”]

A time is a Jewish  year; times (plural) is more than one Jewish year, namely two, and half a time is half a Jewish year.  So we add one plus two plus a half and that equals how many years?  Three and a half years.  Interesting how the Book of Revelation keeps calling us to these different half’s.   Well, isn’t that what happened here in the Book of Daniel?    Daniel 9:27 says, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week…” So Daniel takes this seven year period and divides it into two three and a half year increments, that’s exactly what you’re going to discover over and over again as you go through the Book of Revelation.

The Book of Revelation talks about a man named the antichrist; not he’s not called the antichrist in the Book of Revelation.  He is called the antichrist in John’s other writings, 1 John, but in Revelation 13 this coming antichrist, who will enter into this treaty with Israel is called the beast.  Isn’t that interesting that Daniel 9:27, as we have studied it through they pronoun “he” is talking about an antichrist.  Well if Daniel is talking about an antichrist in the sixth century and John in the first century in the Book of Revelation is talking about an antichrist, maybe Daniel 9:27 is covering the same time period that John is talking about in the Book of Revelation, chapters 6-19.

It’s interesting that the Book of Revelation describes the destruction of the antichrist.  His destruction is described in Revelation 19:20, it says, “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.”  We become very unsettled, do we not, about the progress of evil and  yet when we study prophecy we learn that evil is allowed to go only so far under God.  God has the whole thing under control.  And even the antichrist himself, who seems so horrific and terrible, even his days are numbered.  And this gives us hope in a hopeless age.

And isn’t it interesting that Daniel 9:27 talks about the destruction of the antichrist?  It says, “… a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”  Who is the one who makes desolate?  It’s the “he” or the antichrist.  So isn’t it interesting that when you study the Book of Revelation it keeps referring to, over and over and over again, the very thing that Gabriel showed Daniel in verse 27, back in the sixth century.

The Book of Revelation talks about the second coming of Jesus Christ.  Many people refer to the second coming of Jesus Christ as the Blessed Hope.  I agree with that but let me add this– it’s our only hope.  The only hope for this sin-soaked blood-stained world is the personal return of Jesus Christ to establish His kingdom upon the earth.  And when Christ comes back to establish that kingdom you can read all about it in the Book of Revelation, chapter 19:11-21 and that coming of Christ is alluded to, I believe, here in Daniel 9:27, about the wrath of God being poured out upon the desolater at the end of the tribulation period because we’ve already seen Revelation 19:20, how the antichrist and the false prophet will be thrown alive into the Lake of Fire.

You see what’s happening here?  Even if you didn’t catch every single detail that I went over you can see what the Holy Spirit has done.  He is showing us that a relationship clearly exists between Daniel 9:27 and the Book of Revelation.  They keep highlighting, they keep talking about the same things over and over again.  Let me give it to you this way:  Daniel 9:27 is the thumbnail sketch.  The Book of Revelation, chapters 6-19, fills in the details.  It takes Daniel’s structure and doesn’t alter it but it simply gives more information.  It talks about the seal judgments and the trumpet judgments and the golden bowl of wrath judgment.  Daniel doesn’t talk specifically about those judgments; he just gives the over­arching framework and John in the first century simply fills in the details.

Daniel 9:27 is like watching the movie in black and white.  Revelation 6-19 is like watching the movie in color.  It’s the exact same movie but there’s more color, there’s more emphasis, there’s more information, there’s more detail.  The content doesn’t change between a black and white movie and a color movie but the colored movie is adding ingredients that you don’t necessarily see in a black and white movie.  Daniel 9:27 represents the basement; Revelation 6-19 would represent the ceiling.  And thus Daniel 9:27 fits together with Revelation 6-19 like hand and glove.  And how critical it is to understand both areas to get a handle or an understanding on the plan and program of God which is  yet future.

It’s interesting that one of the criticisms against the view that I’m giving, a coming seven  year tribulation period following the rapture is people say well, it doesn’t mention a seven year tribulation period in Revelation.  And  you’re right, it doesn’t mention it specifically, it mentions different halves of it.  But see, this is a case of people wanting the Book of Revelation to answer a question that’s already been answered by the Book of Daniel.  If people were comparing Scripture with Scripture and understanding how John, in the Book of Revelation is building on a scaffolding or a structure already erected they would be able to put the Scriptures together and see okay, Revelation doesn’t mention per se a seven  year tribulation period, that’s already been outlined in the Book of Daniel.

And this, beloved, is how you assemble any doctrine, not just the doctrine I’m talking about here, prophecy, any doctrine has to be assembled this way.  Take the doctrine of the Trinity; can you give me one verse that says God is one but he’s expressed Himself in three personages?  If you find such a verse let me know about it because I don’t think it exists.  So to assemble the doctrine of the Trinity to understand that God is one and monotheistic I can’t just look at one verse.  I’ve got to learn to combine Scripture with Scripture.  I go into the New Testament which follows the Old Testament.  Amen!  The Old Testament is very clear, God is one, Deuteronomy 6:4, multiple passages I could give.  [Deuteronomy 6:4, “”Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”]  I go into the New Testament and Christ is claiming to be God, the Holy Spirit is called God, and the Father is called God.  Well, I have to combine Scripture with Scripture to understand that God is one  yet in the mystery of the trinity He’s expressed Himself in three personages.  Not one single verse resolves that issue but the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle must be assembled.

This is exactly what I’m doing here with this seven year tribulation period and relating it to the Book of Daniel.  Why would John come along and repeat everything the Book of Daniel already said?  That would be redundant, would it not?  That would be repeating information that we already know.  John is not repeating everything, he’s taking what Daniel revealed in his writings and he is simply adding color to it, information to it, and detail to it.

Why is this important?  Because there are a lot of people out there that are trying to tell you that as  a Christian, as a member of God’s church you are going into the tribulation period.  The doctrine which I represent, pre-tribulationalism is the church will be exempted from the tribulation period.  It’s under attack today like I’ve never ever seen it in my lifetime.  The rapture views, pre-tribulationalism, the church will be raptured the tribulation starts.  That’s the correct view we believe.  Competing against that is midtribulationalism, the church is going to go through half of the tribulation, followed by postribulationalism, the church will be here for all of the tribulation, followed by the new kid on the block, pre-wrath rapturism which is basically the idea that the church is going to be raptured somewhere during the second half.  I call that three-quarters rapturism.

And if that weren’t enough you have another competitor called partial rapturism which is the idea that the only people that are going to be taken in the rapture are the ones that are sold out for Jesus Christ.  The ones that are carnal, the ones that are backslidden, the ones that are not living for Christ, they are going to be left behind.  It’s interesting to me that everybody I know that espouses that view assumes that they’re in the good camp that’s going and then the purpose of the tribulation period becomes straightening the rest of us out, partial rapturism.  Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:51, keep in mind he’s talking to the Corinthians, Ray Stedman used to call 1 Corinthians 1 Californians, these people are saved, they are called saved at the beginning of the book but you don’t see a lot of saintly behavior in their lifestyles, as you can go through the Book of 1 Corinthians.  Paul to that crowd unfolds the doctrine of the rapture beginning in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and says we will ALL be changed.  So if you’re living for Christ  you’re going; if you’re not living for Christ and you are a child of God but you’re in a backslidden condition you’re going as well.

I believe some people, when the pretribulational rapture comes they’re going to go up kicking and screaming and yet that kicking and screaming will stop because they’ll be put in a glorified body which cannot sin.  What a maze of confusion this is.  Some of the time I feel like I’m in the tribulation period itself trying to understand all of these different positions.  And  your average person says well, man, if it’s this complex and if the theologians can’t get it figured out how can I have hope?  But you see, the Lord wants you, in this subject of the rapture, to have hope and optimism.  How does Paul end his treatment on the rapture?  1 Thessalonians 4:18, “Comfort one another with these words,” and you can sit in the church where somebody tells  you you’re going into the wrath of God and  your head, if it’s not cut off by the antichrist, indicating you’ll most likely be martyred, but if that doesn’t happen you’ll make it to the end and be rescued.

“Comfort one another with these words,” does that make any sense at all?  And the child of God today is having their hope stolen; the comfort God wants to give them in the rapture [can’t understand word] through this confusion of conflicting ideas, and yet a basic study of Daniel 9:27 will rescue you from these ideas and will put you back onto the solid rock of view number 1, and you will not be fearing the return of Christ but looking forward to it.

People say well, why doesn’t Andy teach on anything practical?  Try to be a Postribulationalists for one day.  Try to believe what they think and see what that does to your emotions, your psychology, your mental outlook.  Then try to be a pretribulationalist for one day and see what that does to your emotions,  your psychology, your mental and emotional outlook.  I guarantee  you you’re much more joyful as a pretribulationalist than you are as a Postribulationalists.  We have today a lot of sad faced saints.  We have today the  prepper movements.  Now I’m not necessarily against prepping, having supplies in your house in the case of a disaster like what we just had here with hurricane Harvey.  That’s just being wise.  I have a little bit of prepping in my house but it has nothing to do with my views on the end times.  I don’t prep because I’m thinking I’m going to eyeball it with the antichrist.  I prep because I’m living in a fallen world and bad things happen to good people.  The power gets shut off, floods happen and it’s just wise to have a little extra storage.

But you see, there’s a whole movement out there in Christianity where they’re prepping because they think they’re going into the tribulation period.  And many of these ministries sell survivalist gear.  So they can’t let this pretribulationalist view out of the bag because that will damage their sales.  And as you get on Youtube, as you get on the internet you can see all of this hysteria.  That’s why this subject of prophecy that we’re going through is such a big deal, it’s so fundamental and it is so foundational.

Here are the four views in graphic form. We believe that the proper view is the top view, that we are raptured before the tribulation period begins.  And it is my awareness of how John, in the Book of Revelation is talking about the same period of time as the Book of Daniel that largely gives me the most optimism and the most hope in the pretribulational rapture.  Let me see if I can explain that.

The Book of Revelation chapter 1 and verse 19 gives you an outline for the book.  John was told this: “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.”  Now what you discover is that is the outline of the entire Book of Revelation.  The things that you have seen is chapter 1; it is the vision of the glorified Christ that John in 95 A.D. saw on the island of Patmos.  Then he is told to write down the things that are; those are the seven letters to the seven churches found in Revelation 2 and 3.  Bob Graper, if you want more information on this is teaching a Sunday School class on this very subject.  “Write down the things that you have seen, write down the things that are,” but notice the rest of the command, “write down the things that will take place after these things.”  [Revelation 1:19]  The Greek is meta tauta, “after these things.”

Well when does that section start?  I’m glad  you asked.  Revelation 4:1, “After these things,” does that sound familiar, “I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and so forth, and it even says it again “I will show you what must take place after these things.”  What’s the Greek there?  Meta tauta, same thing used in Revelation 1:19.   [Revelation 4:1, “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”  Revelation 1:19, “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.”]

So we have a three part structure to the Book of Revelation.  Now in part 1 and part 2 how many times is the church mentioned?  19 times, it’s the Greek word ekklesia.  In fact, Jesus, in that section is referring to seven churches which are on the earth.  Suddenly you get to Revelation 4;1 which gives us a clue that we’re in part three and all the references to the word “church” in the Book of Revelation, the word ekklesia, stop.  If the church is ever alluded to, perhaps the church is the 24 elders, perhaps the church is the 7 lampstands, represented symbolically, the church is always in heaven, never on the earth.

Now isn’t that sort of interesting that you have 19 references to the church on the earth in Revelation 1-3; Revelation 4 through the end of the book the whole references to the church stop.  The word ecclesia is not even found except one time at the end where John is told to preach these things in the churches, Revelation 22:16.  [Revelation 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”]  Other than that it stops existing.

Why is it mentioned 19 times in chapters 1-3 but it’s never mentioned in the futuristic section of the book which is prefaced by the expression “after these things.”  The simple reason is the church is not there; the church has been removed, the church has been taken to heaven as the Lord promised He would do before the events of the tribulation period unfold.

In Revelation 2 and 3 as Jesus is addressing the seven letters to the seven churches He concludes every letter with this expression, “to him who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Having said that, look at Revelation 13:9.  These are people in the tribulation period itself.  Notice what the Lord says to them, Revelation 13:9, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.”  Sounds familiar doesn’t it.  “If anyone has an ear, let him hear,” this doesn’t just stop.  What got omitted that was  used 19 times in chapters 2 and 3?  “what the Spirit says to the churches” got omitted from that sentence.  Isn’t that interesting?  Why would that happen?  The church has been taken to heaven.

This is the doctrine that I would call the doctrine of the missing church.  Where is it?  It’s not just absent in the Book of Revelation, any end time  passage dealing with the tribulation period you’ll never find the church mentioned anywhere.  The word “church” isn’t there, as I’ll be sharing in just a moment, the concept of the church isn’t there and you get into this third section and let me tell you it starts looking pretty Jewish, doesn’t it, pretty quick.  What do I mean by that?

What I mean by that is the Lord, in Revelation 7, is working through 144,000 evangelists coming from the twelve tribes.  Notice Revelation 7:1, it says, “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. [2] And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God….”   And then down in verse 4 it says, “And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from” what? “every tribe of the sons of Israel.”

As  you keep reading it talks about twelve thousand from each tribe.  [Revelation 7:5, “from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, [6] from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,” etc.]  You say well what does that mean?  Here’s what it means?  Twelve thousand from each tribe.  The tribe of Gad, twelve thousand; the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand; the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand.

And as you get down into verse 9 and following you see an innumerable multitude that no one could count, from across the face of the earth that have responded to the message of the Gospel.      [Revelation 7:9, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;”]  What’s happening, Revelation 7:1-8 144,000 Jews have reached; Revelation 7:9-17 a group from amongst the peoples of the earth the earth that are so big it can’t even be counted.

Notice the divisions here of Revelation 7.  Revelation 7:1-8 the folks are numbered, but when the conversions are described, 9-17, they’re innumerable.  The first part of the book a Jewish group; the second part of the book a group from all nations.  The first part of the chapter, they’re sealed; second part of the chapter the folks are slain.  The first part of the chapter they’re sealed before the tribulation period; the second part of the chapter they’re converted out of the tribulation period.  This is a very peculiar thing to me because God has His hand back on Israel during this time period.  Why isn’t God using the church?  He’s used the church for the last 2,000 years to reach the world.  There’s a very simple answer to that: the church has been taken away.  That explains the Jewish nature of the futuristic section of the Book of Revelation.

Then you go to Revelation 11 and you look at verse 6 and it talks there about two witnesses and who do these people sound like to you?  Revelation 11:6, “These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.” One guy shuts up the heavens so that it cannot rain; another guy turns water into blood.  It sounds a lot like Moses and Elijah to me.  Now there’s a debate is this actually Moses and Elijah?  My personal view is that it is; others say these are Moses and Elijah like characters and that’s okay, we can agree to disagree on that.  You can go your way and I’ll go the Lord’s way… [laughter]  The fact of the matter is this looks very Jewish to me, doesn’t it?  It looks as Jewish as Revelation 7.

Take a look at Revelation 12 for just a minute, verses 1-5, it says: “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; [2] and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.  [3] Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.”  By the way, this has nothing to do with the rapture that was supposedly to occur September 23.  People ask me what is your view of the rapture theory on September 23; my answer was… my answer is this, September 24th is my answer, because when September 24th comes nothing will happen so what day is it now?  October 22.

[4] “And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.  [5] And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.”  Three characters here, the son, s-o-n; it looks a lot like Jesus, doesn’t it, verse 5, “who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron,” right out of Psalm 2:5.  [Psalm 2:5, “Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying,”

The second character is the dragon.  Who’s the dragon?  The devil.  How do I know that?  Verse 9 tells me that.  [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”]

But who is this woman that verse 1 says is “clothed with the sun. and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.”  Who is that?  The Bible never, at least in Revelation, never tells me.  But you say wait a minute, I’ve studied this in the Book of Genesis, because Joseph, at the age of 17 had a dream, didn’t he?  Joseph narrates his dream.  It says, “Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, ‘Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun” does that sound familiar?  “and the moon” does that sound familiar? “and eleven stars” Joseph being the twelfth “were bowing down to me.”  [Genesis 17:9]  It’s a vision that God gave him at the age of 17 about how he would be elevated to a place of authority in Egypt and his brothers would come to him in the midst of famine to find grain.  And that prophecy was fulfilled 13 years later in Joseph’s life when Pharaoh appointed him second in command in all of Egypt.

Joseph narrated this dream to his father (who would be Jacob); he related it to his father or his brothers and his father said what a wonderful dream you’ve had son, I love the fact that we’re all bowing down to you.  His father rebuked him and said to him, ‘What is this dream that you have had?”  Now in the process of the rebuke his father, Jacob, explains the imagery.  “‘Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?’” So the son, s-u-n is Jacob.  The moon would be Mrs. Jacob.  Now people say that’s Rachael; the problem is Rachael had already died, Genesis 35.  Jacob had two wives, not that that’s a good thing to do, that’s just the way it worked out for him.  And the moon therefore would be his existing wife, Leah.  It’s the patriarch and the matriarch of the nation of Israel.  The eleven stars are Joseph’s brother, the twelfth star is Joseph.  The twelve stars would represent the twelve tribes of Israel.

So when I see the identical imagery in Revelation 12:1 about “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon … and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” and I understand my Bible and I remember the Book of Genesis, I remember that this is a description, NOT of the church, this is a description of Israel.  This is more evidence of the Jewish nature of the futuristic section of the Book of Revelation.  So the devil is pursuing the woman; in fact, he hates this woman.  He engages in spiritual warfare against this woman, or Israel.

Now I have a question.  Here’s my question: why is it that Satan, in the tribulation period, is targeting the nation of Israel?  Why isn’t he targeting the church?  I mean, doesn’t Ephesians 6 tell us to put on the whole armor of God because we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and rulers of this dark world,” that’s how it’s been for the last 2,000 years. Satan has targeted the church.  [Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  [12] For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Now in The Book of Revelation he’s not targeting the church; he’s targeting Israel.  Why is that?  Answer: because the church isn’t here during this time.  The church has been raptured to heaven.  You say well, how does this relate to the seventy weeks prophecy?  Remember fact number 1, the focus of this prophecy concerns Israel, “Seventy weeks have been decreed” for Sugar Land Bible Church, oh, it doesn’t say that, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your city.”  The whole focus of the prophecy is the nation of Israel.  There are seven years of this prophecy yet to come.  The Book of Revelation, chapters 6-19 fills in the imagery of that final seven year period.

And when you understand that, beginning with the foundation then you start to understand why the church isn’t mentioned, why the word “church” disappears, why the church even if is referenced is always in heaven, and why God is working through 144000 Jews and two Jewish witnesses.  And He is working through this woman clothed with the sun, the moon and the twelve stars.  You see the whole picture starts to make sense if you understand that John, in Revelation, is filling in imagery of the seventieth week. And you recall fact number one, that the prophecy concerns Daniel’s people in Daniel’s city.  God is dealing with Israel during this time period, yet future.  That’s why the church isn’t there.

Now why start the debate with the Book of Revelation when the Book of Revelation is just unfolding in greater detail what was already given to Daniel.  You see how an understanding of the seventy weeks prophecy pushes you very aggressively, very directly in the pretribulational camp, which gives hope and optimism to your life?  Isn’t it interesting that when you to through the Book of Revelation God’s hand is on a nation again; 144,000 Jews, two Jewish prophets, the Jewish nation represented by the woman clothed with the sun and the moon and the twelve tribes.  It’s all about a nation and using a nation to bless the world.

And folks, that does not describe the church at all because we are not a nation; we are a new man, a unique body of people from all nations.  Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:14 says, “He Himself is our peace, who made both groups,” now “both groups” are believing Jews and Gentiles, “into one, and broke down the dividing wall.”  There are no positionally national distinctions in the church.  The church is not an American institution (some Americans think so but it’s not).  It is a global worldwide institution; the church was doing really fine before America came along and should America disintegrate morally, which looks like it’s happening, God is going to do very fine with His program without America.  Now God in His grace has used America, I love America, if you cut me open I would probably bleed red, white and blue, but the fact of the matter is God doesn’t need America. He doesn’t need any nation.  He’s at work through all nations taking for Himself a people for His name.

In fact, Paul says in Romans 10:19 that the church is not a nation.  Israel was; Israel, in the tribulation will be.  Paul says in Romans 10, “But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, ‘I WILL MAKE YOU JEALOUS BY THAT WHICH IS NOT A NATION, BY A NATION….”  Isn’t that interesting?  Isn’t it interesting what God is doing, how He is lavishing and pouring out grace upon this new man called the church to such a degree that even the angels themselves are looking and yet Israel, which has been in timeout for 2,000 years is getting jealous.

Wait a minute, I thought we were God’s chosen?  I thought we were God’s elect.  I thought we were the choice people of God.  Why is it that this grace has been poured out on all of these Gentiles?  And the Lord, in the last 2,000 years, has been whetting Israel’s appetite to desire her place of prominence back.  He is using us to provoke them to jealousy and guess what?  One day the church age will be over.  The church will be raptured to heaven and jealous Israel will be put back into the place of preeminence.

My point is simply this: God in the tribulation period is national centric, by definition the church can’t be here because the church, by nature, is not national centric.  God is not using a specific nation today, He’s using His people dispersed from all nations.  Beyond that, the church is a mystery.  The Book of Ephesians, chapter 3 and verses 3-6 clearly tells us that this unique new man, where Jews and Gentiles are co-equal, co-heirs in a new spiritual man, this is a mystery. Paul calls it in Ephesians 3:9 a mystery.  [Ephesians 3:9, “and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;”]

What is a mystery?  Biblically speaking “mystery” simply means a truth hidden now revealed.  The Greek word mystery is musterion, and it’s very confusing to people because in our English lexicon we think mystery means a truth that has to be searched out with great diligence to understand it.  If you’re watching a mystery movie you don’t even know who the bad guy is, like the Colombo series you don’t even know who the bad guy is until the last five minutes, because there the mystery is revealed and it comes together.  And that’s what we think a mystery is.

The Bible was not written originally in English; God sovereignly chose to have His Word recorded in Greek and in the Greek language “mystery” musterion is referring to a brand new disclosure; it’s not revealing that something covered, it’s something uncovered that has never been known before.  And that’s why you can read the Old Testament all you want and you’ll never see any reference to the concept of the church.  In fact, Christ Himself hardly even makes reference to the church other than in Matthew 16:18.  [Matthew 16:18, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”]   By the time you get to the Upper Room Discourse He’s laying down some germ principles of the coming church but the church is really not started until Acts 2 and we really don’t know much of the church had it not been for God’s hand on the Apostle Paul.  A mystery, biblically speaking, as Colossians 1:26 defines it, is that is the mystery which has been hidden from God in the past in generations but now has been manifested to us.

Let me ask you a question; the seventy weeks prophecy, in the first sixty-nine weeks is the church there?  No, the church is a mystery; nobody knew the church existed or would exist.  Can I ask you a very simple question?  In the seventieth week, the final seven years of the prophecy, the final seven years of Daniel’s clock which hadn’t elapsed yet, if the church is a mystery in the first sixty-nine weeks and the seventieth week is part of that package, then guess what?  The church is also a mystery where?  In the seventieth week.  If the church is an unrevealed commodity in weeks 1-69 the church is also an unrevealed commodity in the final seven years or the final seventieth week.  And that is why the futuristic section of the Book of Revelation, which simply adds more detail to Daniel’s structure never once mentions the church on the earth, because the church was a mystery when the prophecy started.  The church will be a mystery when the prophecy will conclude.

Beyond that how could the church even be here when God is dealing with the nation again, when the church, by definition, consists of multiple nations?  I hope this makes you a pretribulationalist.

Beyond that, John reveals even more information.  He tells  us what will happen before the church age ends.  You have a description of that in Revelation 2 and 3; there’s different ways to interpret Revelation 2 and 3 but at the very minimum it’s revealing principles that apply to all churches.  Just like I can read the Book of Romans and apply that to my church or your church.  So Revelation 2 and 3, depending on how you interpret it, is some sort of description of the age of the church which will conclude with the rapture.  And if that weren’t enough, John says let me add another detail; let me tell you want’s going to happen when this seven year period of tribulation ends.  When Revelation 19 is studied you move from Revelation 19 to Revelation 20; in Revelation 20:1-10 you have a description of the Millennial kingdom.  The expression, a thousand years occurs six times in those verses.

And you say well pastor, what does a thousand  years means?  Here’s what it means; it means a thousand years!  Now we’ve already had hints of that, haven’t we, because we saw in fact number four that when the clock reaches its conclusion six events will occur which we defined as the political and the spiritual restoration of the nation of Israel.  In other words, the kingdom of God through Israel will break out on planet earth at the conclusion of the seventieth week.

John is building on that framework by making a reference to the thousand year kingdom in Revelation 20:1-10.  Now John goes on and he gives information that you don’t find in Daniel.  He talks about a great white throne judgment for all unbelievers at the conclusion of the kingdom age.  Then he talks about the dissolution or the dissolving or the destruction of this earth.   You say well Pastor Andy, do you believe in global warming?  I do believe in global warming, it’s in 2 Peter 3:10, this world is going to be destroyed by fire.  So this world will be replaced with a new world called the eternal state, Revelation 21 and 22.  What is John doing here?  He’s saying you know Daniel’s structure, here’s some things that happened before the seventieth week, here’s some things that have hinted at by Daniel that happened at the end of the seventieth week.

You know, the evolutionist has the whole thing backwards.  They think the Big Bang started the beginning.  2 Peter 3:10 indicates it’s at the end.  My scientific family members ask me do you believe in the Big Bang thing, I said yes I do, I just think it’s at the end, not at the beginning.  That kind of gets their attention.

But my point is simply this:  you see what John is doing here?  He’s taking Daniel’s structure and he’s building on it.  And as we begin to understand that the Book of Revelation is an unpacking of the seventieth week we begin to build confidence that we could not possible be there for all of the reasons that we have articulated.

So let’s go through this review one more time and I’ve broken it down this way because I want you to teach it to other people.  Do you think you guys could do that?

Fact number one, the prophecy concerns who?  The Jews in Jerusalem.

Fact number two, the prophecy has how many years on it?  490.

Fact number four, what happens at the end?  The kingdom; the kingdom comes at the end of the 490 years.

Fact number five, when did the prophecy start?  March 5, 444 B.C. which is recorded in which book of the Bible?  Nehemiah 2.

Fact number six, how many years will elapse between that decree and Palm Sunday?  483 years exactly.

Fact number  seven, what takes place between that date and the final seven years of the prophecy?  A gap.  Who is God working with in this gap?  The church.

Fact number eight, how many years are left on the prophecy?  Seven.

Fact number nine, therefore to discover what God is going to do in this final seven year period what part of the Bible do  you study?  Daniel 9:27, it gives you the whole outline.

And then finally fact number ten, Revelation 6-19 is simply an outworking or an unpacking of what verse?  Daniel 9:27 which concerns Israel which helps explain the concept of the missing church in the Book of Revelation.

So there  you have it, the seventy weeks prophecy, it did not take me seventy weeks to explain it, only six weeks.  So praise the Lord.

Perhaps you’re visiting today and you’re saying what kind of church is this, this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard.  It’s possible unbelievers can come to a church like this because in the south, in Texas that’s sort of a cultural thing to do, to come to church, so we like to give the gospel every week.  The gospel means good news because Jesus did everything.  He died on a cross in full payment for our sins; He rose from the dead and He leaves humanity with one responsibility, to receive by faith as a free gift what God through Christ has done in our place.  If a person receives that gift, and the only way you can receive that gift is by faith, because “without faith it is” what? “impossible to please God.”  [Hebrews 11:6]  When a person receives that gift by faith is the moment all of the benefits of the gospel are applied to that person’s life.

So becoming a Christian is not a matter or praying a prayer, although your faith could be expressed in a prayer, but the prayer is not the important thing.  Becoming a Christian does not involve a pledge to give money or to join a church.  Becoming a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ does not mean, necessarily raising a hand, walking an aisle, not that those things are bad in and of themselves but they don’t save anybody.  What is important is that a person places their personal trust, faith, confidence, in Christ and Christ alone for your eternity and for the safekeeping or  your soul.  That’s what’s important.  The Spirit of God has come into the world to convict the world of their need to do this.  He comes into the world to convict the world of the only sin that could send a person into hell, which is unbelief.  The only sin that’s unpardonable is dying in  unbelief.  And so what God calls people to do is to trust by way of faith in what Jesus has done, and then you become united to this God who, as we have seen this morning, is very well in control of history and has a specific blueprint yet future.

If you’re unclear about your salvation then you can resolve that issue right now, not by walking an aisle, raising a hand but just a moment of privacy between you and the Lord as the Spirit gently convicts or perhaps aggressively convicts and we place our confidence completely in not what we do for ourselves, that’s religion, religion is what we do for ourselves, nobody ever got saved through religion.  What Christianity is a relationship with God; it’s not us reaching up to God, it’s God reaching down to us through the person of Jesus Christ, highlighting what Christ did and saying stop trusting in yourself, stop trusting in your denomination, stop trusting in your good works and trust in what I have done for you.  And that’s something  you can do right now, even as I’m speaking.  It’s just a matter of privacy between you and the Lord.   Will you trust in Him and Him alone?  If it’s something that  you need more explanation on I’m available after the service to talk.  Shall we pray.

Father, we’re grateful for the Book of Daniel and what it reveals about the future. We’re grateful  in a world that looks like it’s out of control when everything is under control.  And we’re grateful for our hope in You, and I pray that we would walk out these principles this week.  We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said Amen.